Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ball & Chain (Cut & Run #8) by Abigail Roux

I've been waiting for this one for sooooo long! I read the last one almost a year ago. Back then I got a recommendation for the series and read all of them one after the other. Then I got to the last one and I didn't know how I'm going to wait 10 months for the next one. 

Cut & Run have been my first "real" MM Romance. The first being "Lover At Last" of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward which is a Paranormal Romance and I think the author didn't intend for that book to "happen" anyway. After reading it my friend recommended this series to me I said - why not! I didn't know "what to expect" but since then I've read all Cut & Run series including Warrior's Cross and the first novella of the sidewinder and 4 more full books by other authors - I'm really happy I got a new favorite genre to read since I know I'm kinda problematic with the span of genres I'm into.
So what did I think of the book? Well, it was OK I guess, a lot of action and not only between the sheets (or on the carpet) but also a bit of romance, a mystery to solve and a plan for the future. BUT this book has also been a disappointment.. I'll get to that after explaining what this book is about.

Ty and Zane are invited to Ty's brother Deacon wedding. The wedding takes place in Scotland and they are invited to a week of vocation together with them.. well, not quite.. There are threats to Deacon and Livi's baby girl so they ask the boys to bring someone to provide more security yet their offer a "plus one" so he won't have just a week of work. Ty offers the job to Nick who brings Kelly as his "plus one" (though Ty and Zane don't know they are a couple - YET). After the first night someone is found dead and there goes the vocation.. 

I don't want to say a lot more to spoiler anything but I can just say that Ty and Zane finding about Nick and Kelly was fun to read, especially how different both of them reacted. We have one "shovel moment" from Ty's grandfather which was priceless! and we have one death of someone we've known for a long time. I've read that someone is going to die and read a few speculations about who it will be yet I didn't guess who it was. Considering the ending I got why it was the "right one" to die.

Speaking of people intended to die, Nick's father is on his death bed and asks for Nick's help in donating the alcoholic, violent bastard a part of his liver. I didn't understand the whole thing, I swear. What was the dilemma about anyway? people don't change, not really so why would Nick even consider helping the father who constantly beat him (and other members of his family)? a person who doesn't even really care about him and not interested in him at all. Blood might be thicker than water but blood doesn't flow only in one member of the family.. 

This story have been quite a ride. I'm not very good with too many characters introduced in one book (that's my main complaint about first book in series usually of the paranormal type) but when it's a murder mystery and I'm suppose to remember who the bride's maid is or who's the gardener, well, I get lost quite easily (can you believe I've read A Song Of Ice and Fire? yeah, it baffles me as well..). I'm not even sure that in the end I got it all.. kinda reminded me of how lost I was on "Fish & Chips" when Ty and Zane were on that boat impersonating a gay couple. I loved that book but I wished Abi would have explained more.. which goes with my next complaint -

There is a reminder to things that happened in the past. Listen, I love this series but I'm ashamed to admit I don't remember all the twists and turns.. for example I didn't remember what Ty exactly did to dismember Sidewinder and how he lied to them about it. I had to go to the previous book to look that one up since I felt I needed to remember to continue. 

For all of you how disliked all the angst between Ty and Zane on the previous book I think you would dislike this one as well.. why? because 90% of the book Ty and Nick are at odds. I was a bit tired of that.. I understand both of them, maybe I understood Nick even better and would have taken his side but I felt that it shifted the focus of the book of being "Ty and Zane" to being, well, something else.. This book doesn't bring us a lot of them or maybe I should say it doesn't bring ENOUGH of them.

The last few pages were beautiful. I went to sleep with a huge smile on my face and when I woke up that's the first thing I thought about I"m going to miss them both until the next and last book. I thought this one is the last one but everyone is saying there is one more. The ending gave me a nice closer but I hope Abi will give us something more. I do hope we are in luck for getting more and we won't get it "sugar coated" with Nick and Kelly. They deserve more for the last book. SO MUCH MORE!

But my main problem was that this book felt like an interlude to the Sidewinder series, Nick and Kelly took A LOT of this book. So much that I felt that this is Abi's way of making way for them to take the stage and Ty and Zane leaving us. I didn't appreciate the notion. I liked the first Sidewinder novella but these two are NOT Ty and Zane. Naturally the dynamics would be different, after all, they know each other for years now. I couldn't find myself interested in them. Not in Nick, though we learnt quite a lot about him in this one, and not Kelly who isn't that interesting.. Also, since they are already a solid couple I feel like the next books are going to be mainly an adventure kinda deal and since they are not my favorite couple I'm not sure I'm up to that. I will read the next and last book in this series but I won't venture into the Sidewinder series. 

I'm giving this one 3 stars. I originally gave this one 4 stars but after reading friend's reviews I was reminded what I WAS missing and then I felt like screaming at the sky. The last book ended in a sore note. You remember, right? In these 6 months Ty went through hell (it's even mentioned that he returned a different man) and Zane went through a lot too (where was it mentioned? the last book or was it in the first sidewinder? can't remember..) so when Ty and Zane finally meet after all this time we don't really get a reunion. We get a nice scene in the airport with all the guys but nothing really intimate where they "talk it through" or where they express how the time apart was for them. We jumped almost immediately two weeks later to them going to Scotland. Since it took me almost a week to read this one I almost forgot how puzzled I was of this part being missing. I think that after all the angst that we felt in the last book and the break in the relationship, while in Scotland, away from their normal environment and work they should have had some sort of intimate conversations (even if people ARE dropping dead around them..) we should have got something emotional out of them. But there is NO mention what-so-ever to what happened the past 6 months for the both of them. 

Sadly the only emotional ride we had was of Nick as I've wrote above. It was just TOO MUCH Nick (and Kelly how has no personality by-the-way) and WAY LESS the main characters of the series! Nick and Kelly are going to have a whole new series why did they have to take the stage in this one? also, they have far more emotional scenes than Ty and Zane have up to the moment you feel they already have a more emotional and committing relationship than Ty and Zane have after being a few years together! Yeah, Nick and Kelly know each other but being friends is not like having a relationship not to mention Kelly "becoming" gay and SO into Nick felt unrealistic. It's just too damn quick. A month of trial and error (with literally no error) than 6 months off when Nick was deployed and Kelly stayed home and then, two weeks after Nick returns home they go to Scotland together and they are basically a "solid couple" which is just too "instant" for me. I knew I wasn't THAT into them before (I did enjoy the novella which I should say was mostly hot sex and getting to hot sex and not a lot more, mostly a sort of a fun read), after this one I'm not getting anywhere near their series. 

I know the feel of this review changed in less than 24 hours but I think the problem was it took me 6 days to read it. Most books I finish in 2-3 days. I WAS really busy so it wasn't just the book, but I think I should always consider the parameter of time it took me to read a book in my "grading scale". I started really happy, getting my Ty and Zane fix then with everything that was going on in the book and in my life I guess my reading time got shoved somewhere. I got to read this one in small doses and I guess in each dose I got a little of what I wanted even if not nearly enough but when the story concluded and SO beautifully for Ty and Zane I was just happy, not remembering all the raised eye brows in the beginning and missing them together. Missing them taking the lead.

Disappointing. If you're a fan you won't miss it.. and if you're into Nick and Kelly you would probably enjoy it far more than I did.

Re-Read Note - I Re-Read this book (as well as the other books in the series) as a preparation for the absolute last installment. I don't have anything more to add to this review as it sums up what I thought about it. Since I knew I didn't like it the first time and knew what to expect I had to literally hold myself to read it. I can't stand Nick though I think Kelly is somewhat growing on me but I still couldn't be bothered with either one of them. I loved every moment between Ty and Zane in this book yet the little we got just wasn't enough. 

The beginning and ending of this book is what gave it the 3 stars rating. The core of the book (meaning chapter 3 till almost the end of the final chapter) was boring even or maybe because of all the action and angst (!) I wouldn't have given it more than 2 stars and frankly it would have been a DNF if it was a stand alone novel. Yet it was the one before last installment in a much loved and cherished series. So so disappointing. 

Since I read all the books in the series recently I found out something I missed on my previous read - On "Stars & Stripes" Zane's brother-in-law mentions a rumor about Ty's team going on a mission and returning one person short, something about him being shoved over a cliff. In this book Nick and Ty mention it. Not very specifically and yet it's quite clear what they are referring to. 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 308 pages / On GoodReads
1st Read: 9-13 March 2014 (Reviewed 14 March), Re-Read : 4-7 April 2015
Cut & Run is a GREAT MM Romance series written in the beginning by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban and continued from the 5th book with Abigail Roux solo. I really enjoy Ty Grady and Zane Garrett's relationship and since it's quite slow going on the built - the way the relationship was formed and established between them felt very genuine.

Ty and Zane are both FBI agents. Ty being former Marine and Zane having a lot of experience in the Under Cover field as well. They are put together against each others will (doesn't it all start this way? :)). It doesn't take more than 2 seconds for the both of them to realize they are the absolute opposite of the other and it doesn't take a genius to realize it's going to crash and burn between them... and yet they somehow do find themselves attracted to each other and moreover start to trust each other as partners. It takes them a few books to build a "real" relationship, takes them time to "come out" in front of family and friends, and yet they have to keep their romance to themselves when it comes to their work if they want to work together since the FBI doesn't partner couples (it doesn't have to do with them being gay).

I think it's a really good suspense romance as well, though the mystery part isn't the strong part of the books but the building of their relationship with every book that follows. Each book has it's own issue that needs to be resolved but there is also somehow a bigger picture with both Ty and Zane's past slowly unraveling and coming to bite them in the ass with the last three installment rapping up all the major troubles they were dealing with right from the beginning.   

We also get to meet Ty's teammates from his time as a marine. Once a Marine, always a marine, right? and there's also a spin off series of two of Ty's teammates - Nick and Kelly called Sidewinder. I've read and reviewed the first one - Shock and Awe. But sadly I don't feel the connection to the characters as I do with Ty and Zane so I won't continue reading more in the spin off.

Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban published one more book together - "Warrior's Cross". Though it was published in 2009 the "right placement" of the book in relation to the Cut & Run series is before the 5th installment since it gives a better understanding of the couple who appears in "Armed & Dangerous". Julian and Cameron's story is VERY different than the Cut & Run series. It's a sweet love story.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (Though I admit in my opinion the last two books were the weaker link, I expected more of them and got a bit too much of the new and shiny couple - Nick & Kelly).

This was and will be one of my absolute favorite MM Romance / Suspense Series. Ty and Zane, yeah, mostly Zane, are a couple I'll always carry with me. The road we went through together made them almost real in my mind and I'm really sad to say goodbye to them now that the series is over. Goodbye my friends.

1. Cut & Run (published 1 September 2008) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
2. Sticks & Stones (published 25 January 2010) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
3. Fish & Chips (published 6 December 2010) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
4. Divide & Conquer (published 14 October 2011) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5. Armed & Dangerous (published 18 May 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5.5 Dine & Dash [ free bonus scene ] (published 8 July 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★
6. Stars & Stripes (published 13 August 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
7. Touch & Geaux (published 8 April 2013) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
8. Ball & Chain (published 17 March 2014) ★ ★ ★
9. Crash & Burn (published 30 March 2015) ★ ★ ★ ¾

No comments:

Post a Comment